The Swanwick Writers’ Conference is about three weeks away.
Six days of thinking about writing, talking about writing and listening to talks about writing. Actual writing?
Don’t plan on it.
But who cares.
A worried tweet from a first time Swanwicker gave me pause for thought this week. I’m not one for much blogging but occasionally it comes in handy. I thought she, and others who might also feel uncertain and tentative about their first experiences in Derbyshire, would like a virtual hug, if you will.
So to Swanwick goslings, Swanwick is a laid-back, come-as-you-are holiday, in a way. It’s not a Masters programme in writing. It’s a low-key, enjoyable time to think about the narratives we carry in our heads, and a menu of short and long classes offer a new looking glass into our world of ideas. There are no marks or exams. We teachers put a lot of time and thought into designing our courses and you are surely to enjoy them as much as we enjoy teaching them.
At Swanwick, no matter where a person is on the writing spectrum, he or she has a narrative like a small polished rock in their pockets to share. There will be the published and the unpublished, the experienced and the tentative, the castled kings and the exposed pawns at Swanwick. But the Swanwick Spirit is friendly and fun.
And yet, the unexpected does happen.
Impromptu conversations at breakfast may spark ideas about the craft of writing. Mingling with a published writer on the sunshiny lawn at elevenses may reveal a new mentor — someone you never knew you always needed. At dinners, published teachers sit with students and talk about book tours, contracts, word counts and their next projects. But we want to know what you’re thinking as much as you may want to know about our writing lives.
While Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” what happens to that other 20% is entirely up to you. My wish for all Swanwickers, new and old, is keeping in mind the magic of conversations and collaborations. Bring to Swanwick the same openness you bring to your own writing. I know I am. Being receptive to the unexpected can take your own storyline as a writer in a new direction.
It happens all the time. And it can be life-changing.
See you there. And say hello. Who knows what will happen?